A home away from home – Linda Calder and Bill Wade

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Bill and Linda Calder

Linda and Bill have been providing homestay accommodation for Lexis students for the past two years. In that time they’ve hosted students ranging in age from 16-55 and from countries as diverse as Czech Republic, Japan and Reunion Island.

They always get excellent feedback from our students and I think this is because they really enjoy the process of welcoming students to their family.

I asked Linda to share some of their memorable homestay moments and photos and also to explain what they get out of being a host family.

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Toshi at the Lighthouse on his first day in Byron

We’ve had so many memorable times with our students. I remember we took Toshi (pictured above) for his first ever snorkel, and I wasn’t sure once we got started… Bill had to put on his fins, and I had to get his mask on, and when we got over the wreck at main beach and he put his face in the water there was this enormous ray right underneath us and I thought he’d swallow half the sea he was so shocked and excited.

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Priscilla, Dayan and Kay

This next picture shows Priscilla from Brazil with Swiss student Kay and our 14 year old son Dayan at an Xmas dinner. These two fell in love after they left our house… I’m pretty sure she is travelling to Switzerland in June/July to visit him.

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Kainoa and his mum

 Last year we played host to two lovely boys from Reunion lsland: surf enthusiasts Jean and Kainoa. At the end of their three week stay Kainoa’s family came out and joined them and we still keep in touch with them like we do with many of our students.

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Freddie from Switzerland

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Hynek from Czech Republic

 We’ve also really enjoyed hosting Freddie, Linard and Kevin from Switzerland, Hynek from Czech Republic and Tomoyuki from Japan. Our Maltese dog Harry was so sad to see Hynek go that he kept going into his room and dragging the bathmat out of the bathroom.

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Harry the dog!

 As for us, I’m trying to think about what it is that we enjoy most about having the students and I think it is that because we are Canadian and don’t have any family here in Australia so the students who stay longer term actually become like part of our family. Dayan loves that he has these brothers and sisters from all over the world and he particularly loves it when they are keen to hang out and watch bad movies together.

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Dayan loves to cook and guests love his speciality – Pork Ribs 

Dinner times are great fun because that is when we all share stories about our lives, culture, food, travel experiences and so on. We love to witness the fun that student’s have at school, with the friends they meet, and the active social lives they have in this safe community.  It is a joy to see so many students who enjoy surfing, the beaches and relaxed lifestyle of Byron Bay while they learn to improve their English language skills.

Ultimately it is a privilege to be a positive part of people’s lives when they are visiting Australia often for the first time and we enjoy showing them some of the more special places around the area.

Thanks for sharing Linda, and for providing Lexis students with such a wonderful homestay experience.

“Byron’s Awesome,” according to Swiss Ski Stars

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Fabian (left) and Linard (right)

For the past three weeks Lexis Byron Bay has felt privileged to host two upcoming Swiss athletes – Fabian Schaad and Linard Kindschi.

Fabian and Linard, both professional cross country skiers, were lucky enough to win a radio competition sponsored by Boa Lingua. The prize – a fantastic four-week, fully-inclusive trip to a school of their choice in Australia.

We caught up with Fabian and Linard earlier this week to find out how they were enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime trip so far and also to learn a bit more about their amazing jobs.

images1How long have you been skiing?

Fabian: Since I was a young boy of 2 years so you can say I was born to it. Then, I started competing at about 13. First, I was doing Alpine Skiing but then discovered I preferred competing with others at the same time.

Linard: I think the first time I went on cross country skis was at 3 years of age. At 6 years I took part in a competition, just because my brothers did it as well. In the following years, I did more competitions at even higher levels. I’ve trained regularly with a team since I was 13 years old.

What are your goals as a professional skier?

Fabian: My main goal is to go to the PyeongChang Olympic Games in South Korea. I’m hoping to compete in the Team Sprint with my younger brother.

Linard: For me too, my next big goal is the Olympic Games. Then, in general, my goal is to be one of the best skiers in the world. This means to be regularly in the top 10 in world cup races and championships.

169928_640 Why did you choose to come to Byron Bay?

Fabian: I’d heard a lot of positive things about Byron from other people and friends and I have to agree. Byron’s awesome!

Linard: Also, we wanted to go to a smaller town and not a big city like Brisbane.

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Photo of Byron Bay courtesy of another talented Lexis student Sylvain Maury

And, how are you enjoying it?

Fabian: I really like the relaxed atmosphere here. It’s so different to Switzerland and I really enjoy it. Also the beach is great and I go there as much as I can. I went surfing for the first time, recently, and really enjoyed it even if I fell off the surfboard more times that I stood on it. I will do it again and as often as I can.

Linard: I really like that I can go everywhere by bike. I love to spend the afternoons at the beach and ride some waves on the surfboard. The people are all very nice and friendly.

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Getting competitive during Wednesday’s Poker Tournament

Finally, what is your favourite thing about Lexis English Byron Bay?

Fabian: For me it’s just a good thing to go to school. For a long time I’ve just been training every day – three years without school or anything else. I really like the school here and all of the people. It’s interesting to see so many students from all over the world.

Linard: There is always a good atmosphere on the whole campus and in class. You can learn something new every day not only in lessons but also in the kitchen.

Thanks guys and enjoy your final week in Lexis Byron Bay.